There are so many chocolate cakes in the world. There are so many around here. And yet, everyday, new recipes for chocolate cake get added to the unending depths of the internet. And I am not saying that's a bad thing. In fact, there are even cake shops on this side of the world that sell only chocolate cake.
Today, I will add to the-already-burgeoning-list-of-chocolate-cake-recipes-in-the-world-wide-web.
But today's cake is supposed to be the World's Most Famous Grown Up Chocolate Cake. And it's not one bowl, so save it for something special. And for someone who is dedicated to chocolate. Also, no, this cake has no alcohol. But wait, don't leave just yet, this cake has enough history to want to make you visit it's birth place
Sachertorte. It had me at the name. It had me wondering, is it a torte, is it a tart, and who or what is Sacher? Turns out, it's a chocolate cake.
Sachertorte was invented by Franz Sacher, who as a 16-year-old apprentice created this cake in 1832 for Prince Wensel Metternich of Austria. The Prince's chef was not well, and his apprentice was told to make a dessert 'that would not shame the Prince'. Franz Sacher thus served a chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot preserve right below a thin layer of chocolate icing.
Sachertorte is my kind of cake. It has two layers of icing, so to me it's a fancy cake, but the frosting is so minimal, that while it makes the cake fancy, it doesn't distract from the true cake below.
The cake below is moist. At first sight, the cake looks dry, dense and heavy. In reality, the cake is light, crumbly and rich. Not in a 'buttery' rich way, only in an intensely chocolaty rich way. The slight sweetness and tang of the apricot glaze between the layers is surprising; you expect a straight hit of chocolate and yet, in every bite, you get fruity undertones from the jam.
No wonder people have fought over this cake.
Adapted from Nigel Slater via the Guardian
Now the original cake recipe says that it's necessary that the layer of Apricot jam must be very thin. I got carried away, and in the process forgot about this fact, and my layer of jam wasn't quite as thin. But it didn't matter so much in my final cake, because the flavour was just right, not overwhelming and just enough to complement the chocolate. I have to say though, the flavour combination can be surprising to the palette if you haven't had it before. But it's a pleasant one, not oppressive and not strong. I also skipped the unsweetened whipped cream, simply because I didn't have any at the time.
So should I call this an almost there Sachertorte?
You probably have read this before, but use a really dark chocolate for this cake. The original recipe called for 70% dark and I went with that, but that gives a really intense, bittersweet result, so if you are not absolutely sure about you will like that much chocolate, use any other good dark chocolate of 40-55% (I haven't used it, but it should work just fine).
110g dark chocolate, chopped
100g butter, at room temperature
100g powdered sugar
4 large eggs, separated
90g plain flour, sifted
for the glaze:
75g apricot jam - sieved
for the chocolate icing:
125g dark chocolate, chopped
30g butter, cut in small pieces
To make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. And line the base of a 8 inch round cake tin with butter paper.
2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Then set aside.
3. Cream the butter and two-thirds of the sugar together till very light and fluffy - at least 8-10 minutes. When the mixture is fluffy, beat in the egg yolks, one yolk at a time. Add the chocolate and stir. Then add the flour, and gently stir until combined.
4. Whisk the egg whites till firm, then stir in the remaining 50g of sugar a spoonful at a time.and keep on whisking until the mixture is smooth, shiny and but not very stiff. Fold them lightly into the chocolate mixture. Do this gently and slowly and fold the mixture using a metal spoon.
5. Scrape this cake mixture into the lined cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting toothpick into the centre: it should be slightly moist, without any uncooked cake mixture on it. Let the cake cool outside the oven.
6. Remove the cake and transfer it on to a plate or a cake stand for the frosting.
7. Melt the apricot jam in a small saucepan. Slowly pour over the cake, smoothing over the top and sides. Let this cool down.
8. To make the chocolate frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a small saucepan containing simmering water. Don't stir the chocolate, but turn off the heat after a couple of minutes. Stir in the butter in small pieces. Pour the chocolate frosting, and smooth gently over the sides as required, over the apricot glaze and leave the cake to set. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream